Attractive deciduous shrub native to the Mediterranean region. It is one of the few temperate-zone species of Vitex, which consists mainly of tropical and subtropical plants. It is related to our native Puriri, Vitex lucens.
The palmately compound leaves of the Chaste Tree are very attractive, then superseded by the gorgeous lilac flower spires, which open over a period of 4-5 weeks starting from the lower part of the stem and moving upwards. They attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects. The whole plant is aromatic, but the flowers in particular are often used to make perfume. The smooth, greyish-tan bark of a young tree will become a fissured dark grey as the tree matures.
Vitex was the name used by the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder and is derived from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, a reference to the use of this plant in basketry. A yellow dye can also be made from the leaves, seed and roots.
The fruit can be used as a pepper substitute and can be eaten fresh off the bush or dried. The aromatic leaves are also used as a spice, including as one of the ingredients of the Moroccan spice mixture ‘ras el hanout’.
Chaste Tree has been used in traditional medicine for reproductive health issues in women for thousands of years. Modern research has confirmed this use, the seeds being used to restore balanced functioning to the female reproductive system, by rectifying hormonal imbalances caused by an excess of oestrogen and an insufficiency of progesterone. It has been used with great effect in restoring absent menstruation, regulating heavy periods, restoring fertility when this is caused by hormonal imbalance, relieving pre-menstrual tension and easing the change of the menopause. The seeds and fruits are said to be anaphrodisiac, aphrodisiac, galactogogue, ophthalmic, sedative and stomachic. The leaves, flowers, and/or berries may be consumed as a decoction, tincture, syrup, or elixir, or simply eaten from the plant as food.
Chaste Trees tolerate a range of soils from light to medium and moist to dry, and do not require high fertility. Full sun, frost hardy. Height to 3-5m but can be maintained small.
PB3 Certified organic plant approx 40 – 60cm high
FREIGHT: MINIMUM FREIGHT IS 24.00 URBAN NTH ISLAND AND 41.00 URBAN SOUTH ISLAND, PLUS A FURTHER 7.80 IF YOU ARE RURAL. HOWEVER FOR THIS SAME AMOUNT WE CAN FIT UP TO 20 POTTED PLANTS IN 9CM POTS – HERBS, PERENNIALS ETC – IN ADDITION TO YOUR CHASTE TREE, OR SEVERAL OTHER SMALL TREES OR SHRUBS.